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B1G Wrestling: Eating Small Schools for Breakfast

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Nebraska found a big win, while Ohio State and Minnesota prepare for big tests

Big Ten Championship Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Recap

#9 Nebraska Cornhuskers hosts Nebraska-Kearney, Chadron State

Atinat: Nebraska picked up two easy wins, beating Chadron State 31-9 and Nebraska-Kearney 45-6. They suffered losses at 165 and 174 against UNK, both by non-starters, but picked up five falls, an injury default, a major decision, and a forfeit to stack up 45 points. They also lost two matches to Chadron State, losing 125 by fall and 197 by decision, again with neither loser being a likely starter. The Huskers added a fall of their own by Taylor Venz, as well as a tech fall by Ridge Lovett and two major decisions.

Roughly half the starting lineup went in each dual, with no action by Liam Cronin, Alex Thomsen, Mikey Labriola, or expected 165-pound starter Bubba Wilson. Those who did go saw little resistance, and so little was learned.

Maryland Terrapins 9, Virginia 24

Atinat: Welp. No one expected the Terrapins to be good. They did get wins at by Dominic Solis, Kyle Cochran, and Jaron Smith at 174, 184, and 197 pounds respectively, but they surrendered bonus points at 149 and 157 points, where Penn State transfer Jarod Verkleeren teched William Berkowitz in 4:02 and Maryland sophomore Lucas Cordio lost 15-6 to Virginia’s Jon Errico.

#18 Wisconsin 32, Little Rock 13

Kind of...: The Badgers spotted UALR a 9-0 lead via a forfeit at 125 and a decision at 133 (which is not a strong weight for UW and thus was only a mild upset), but pretty much rolled from there. The touted frosh all came through. with Joseph Zargo (141) posting a 10-4 victory, Dean Hamiti (165), a 4-3 win (over a reasonably good opponent), and Braxton Amos (197) notching an 18-2 TF. Additionally, UW’s ranked wrestlers all looked the part as #19 Austin Gomez (149) earned a third period fall, #17 Chris Weiler (184), grabbed an 18-0 TF, and #6 Trent Hillger (HWT) registered a first period fall. With #10 Eric Barnett (125) and #8 Andrew McNally (174) sitting the meet out, the dual was closer than expected but still doesn’t tell us much about UW going forward. The next meets will, however. On November 27, the Badgers will participate in the Garden State Grapple where they’ll face a respectable Hofstra squad and take on #15 North Carolina

#12 Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Chattanooga, Davidson, Clarion

Atinat: Rutgers continued their crusade against small schools, dispatching Clarion 27-10, Chattanooga 39-3, and Davidson 35-6. The big bruise for the Scarlet Knights is that 165 starter Andrew Clark, a freshman, lost all three matches. He was joined by Robert Kannaird at 157 pounds and Jackson Turley at 174 pounds against Clarion, with the Turley loss a minor upset. 197-pound Greg Bulsak pinned his opponent with a minute left in the match, and Sebastian Rivera earned a tech fall over Seth Koleno. Sammy Alveraz added a major decision.

Clark was alone in defeat against Chattanooga, where the Mocs forfeited 125 and 197 pounds. Heavyweight Boone McDermott ended the first period with a fall, Rivera earned another tech fall, and Robert Kanniard majored his opponent.

Rutgers lost at 165 and 174 pounds against Davidson, but had a pin by 197-pound backup Kyle Epperly and tech falls by Dyland Shawver and the 141-pound backup Michael Cetta. Sammy Alveraz, Mike Van Brill, Robert Kannaird, and John Poznanski added major decisions.

#3 Penn State at Sacred Heart, Oregon State

HWAHSQB: Penn State rolled to two dual meet victories: 47-3 over Sacred Heart and 32-7 over Oregon State. Of the three dual losses for the Nittany Lions, two came at 157, where Joey Blumer (who probably won’t end the season as the started) faced two opponents who qualified for the NCAAs last year. The other loss was by Baylor Shunk at 125. He is unlikely to be Penn State’s starter at the end of the season, either. All six of PSU’s top 5 wrestlers went twice, and all were good to great. This does mean that Max Dean looks to the man at 197 and Michael Beard will likely redshirt.

Atinat: Greg Kerkvliet was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week for his pin of Mark Blokh and tech fall of Ohio State transfer Gas Tank Gary Traub. RIP Gas Tank Gary.

Northwestern hosts SIU-Edwardsville

This meet was postponed. No one said it was COVID, but I’m guessing one of the programs had a COVID issue. Northwestern twitter says both programs are looking to reschedule.

#6 Michigan Wolverines 39, CSU-Bakersfield 3

Atinat: Princeton transfer Patrick Brucki started his Wolverine career with a first-period pin, and was joined by 174-pound Max Maylor in doing so. CSU also forfeited the 133-pound bout, and Michigan earned major decisions at 149, 157, and 184 pounds. Jack Medley won a high-scoring affair, Cameron Amine won a surprisingly low-scoring one, and no Mason Parris meant a sudden-victory decision for backup Blake Querio. The only loss for the Wolverines came as Angelo Martinoni won 10-8 over Patrick Nolan at 141 pounds, where Micic is expected to return as the starter. This was a thorough, if underwhelming victory for the Wolverines.

#21 Purdue Boilermakers 39, Cleveland State 7

HWAHSQB: First of all, why are you travelling to Cleveland, Purdue? That’s odd, but they did come home with a 39-7 win over the Cleveland State (hold up a second, googling Cleveland State...) over the Cleveland State Vikings.

The final score a little more lopsided than it actually was as CSU forfeited two weight classed due to COVID protocols. Devin Schroder and Thomas Penola both notched Tech Falls against pretty decent wrestlers, but Max Lyon shows that 184# will continue to be a mystery this year, falling to DeAndre Nassar 2-1.

#16 Minnesota at Bison Open

Atinat: Minnesota was one of three D1 schools to compete in the open, alongside NDSU and SDSU, and took home six individual “championships.” Pat McKee defeated SDSU’s Tanner Jordan 11-3 to win at 125 pounds, Jake Gliva beat NDSU’s Kellyn March 6-1 at 133 pounds, Michael Blockhus beat Minnesota’s (yes, really) Blaine Brenner via second period fall to win at 149 pounds, Brayton Lee needed sudden victory to dispatch NDSU’s Jared Franek (a blood round elimination last year) at 157, Jared Krattiger took first place unabated via medical forfeit at 174, and Isaiah Salazar beat NDSU’s Deanthony Parker Jr 4-3 at 184 pounds.

Presumed 141-pound starter Marcos Polanco lost to teammate Jakob Bergleland in sudden victory in the third-place match at that weight. while starter Andrew Sparks was stuck by NDSU’s Luke Weber in the 165 pound title bout. 197 and 285 starters Garrett Joles and Gable Steveson did not attend the tournament.

Indiana at App State Open

HWAHSQB: D.J. Washington is a beast. He is 5-0 with five wins by fall on the season. Is anyone happier he made the move to 184 than Carter Starocci? Mr. Washington took the title at the App State Open. Surprisingly, Michigan did not want to attend this event.

Even the internet doesn’t care about this event so I couldn’t find any brackets, but Indiana did well, with 8 wrestlers finishing in the top 5. In addition to DJ Washington placing first, Brock Hudkins placed 2nd and seems to be transitioning well as he moved from tiny weight class (125#) to small guy weight class (133#) He medically forfeited the final so I hope it wasn’t something serious and he was just ducking a very good wrestler in ASU’s Michael McGee.

#1 Iowa at Luther Open

Atinat: Jacob Warner, who medically forfeited vs teammate Zach Glazier, was the only starter in attendance who did not win his weight. DeSanto, Eierman, Young, and Marinelli all went and found themselves atop the podium, though against mainly JuCo competition. Marinelli was tested by freshman teammate Patrick Kennedy, and the biggest upset of the day was 2020 NWCA all-American Abe Assad losing the championship to high schooler (and Mizzou commit) Clayton Whiting, 4-3. Like much of the Iowa fall schedule, this will tell us nothing.

#8 Ohio State at Intercollegiate Open

Atinat: Ohio State was joined by Ohio University and West Virginia, among a few others, as D1 competition at the open. Seven Buckeyes took their weight classes, including third-year freshman (redshirt, then injury) Carson Kharchla at 165 pounds. The only potential starter to fall short was Dylan Koontz at 133 pounds, who fell 3-1 in the final to Ohio’s Gio Disabato. Heinselman, D’Emilio, Sasso, Smith, Hoffman, and Orndorff all collected gold alongside Kharchla. Unattached Buckeye Bryce Hepner, a redshirt freshman at 157 pounds, also took first, beating teammate Isaac Wilcox 4-2.

It’s a little surprising to see so many starters wrestle a small early-season tournament, but it gets them some reps with Virginia Tech coming up.

#9 Nebraska 27, #15 North Carolina 6

HWAHSQB: This match was probably a bit closer than the final score as the first 7 matches were very tight until #9 Nebraska opened things up in the upper weights against #15 UNC. We got some big upsets in an entertaining dual.

Liam Cronin opened things up for Nebraska with tight 3-1 win against a true freshman who graduated early, so the 24yo Cronin’s strength and experience were too much for his 17yo opponent. The Tarheels struck back at 133 with #10 Jaime Hernandez taking control. Alex Thomsen opened the match up with an early takedown, but couldn’t do much from there. At 141, UNC took the lead as #13 Kizhan Clarke scored an upset in sudden victory over #5 Chad Red Jr, but that would be all the scoring the cheaters from Chapel HIll could muster. The next two matches would feature more upsets as #14 Ridge Lovett took out #6 Zach Sherman 4-3 after a very close takedown by Sherman was not scored on challenge by UNC. Kudos to the refs for getting through challenges without taking an eternity for the review. The biggest upset of the night was #16 Peyton Robb controlling the match whistle to whistle against #2 ranked and defending national champ Austin O’Connor. The last noteworthy match of the night, #3 Mikey Labriola looked flat and barely managed to beat Clay Lautt. The last three matches were blowouts for the Cornhuskers. The only thing worth seeing in those matches was UNC’s Mark Chaid fabulous pornstache. Final score from Lincoln 27-6 Cornhuskers.

#3 Penn State hosts Army, Thursday at 7PM on BTN+

Atinat: Penn State should be heavily favored here, with ranked guys at nine weights, but Army does have ranked guys at six of their own. 125 pounds should be a tossup, with Army listing Ryan Chauvin, who is unranked and 1-2, and Penn State sending either Baylor Shunk (1-1) or Brandon Meredith (0-0). Penn State sends top 5 guys against unranked opponents at 133 pounds (#1 Roman Bravo-Young) and heavyweight (#5 Greg Kerkvliet).

No Knights are ranked higher than #21, so Nick Lee, Carter Starocci, Aaron Brooks, and Max Dean should all be heavily favored. That leaves 149, 157, and 165 as toss-ups. Beau Bartlett, a sophomore, is ranked 27th and will see #20 PJ Ogunsanya, a nation qualifier a year ago. Penn State lists both Terrell Barraclough and Joe Lee as potentials at 157, where #32 Markus Hartman awaits. Lee is ranked 24th by Intermat, but neither Nittany Lion have wrestled yet this year. At 165, #32 Craighton Edsell is listed for Penn State, and would see sophomore Clayton Fielden for Army.

I expect something like a 29-9 final.

#8 Ohio State at #10 Virginia Tech, Friday at 7PM (Not televised?!)

Atinat: Man, I don’t know how this one isn’t televised. There aren’t probables out as of me writing this Wednesday night, but Ohio State already sent their top lineup against North Carolina last Sunday. At 125 pounds, #14 Malik Heinselman could see #12 Sam Latona, last year’s sixth place finisher. #2 Sammy Sasso will see #9 Bryce Andonian, a sophomore. The marquee matchup could be at 174 pounds, where #6 Ethan Smith could face #4 Mekhi Lewis, who is somehow still just a sophomore. The Buckeyes’ #21 Rocky Jordan should face off against #9 Hunter Bolen at 184 pounds. #7 Tate Orndorff draws #14 Nathan Traxler to potentially close the dual.

This is a fairly good dual, and yet it was not picked up by BTN+ or ESPN+. It will be on ACCN Extra. It’s gonna be a close one, but I’ll give the Buckeyes the slight edge, 17-16.

#6 Michigan at Columbia, Friday at 7PM on ESPN+

Atinat: Maybe I shouldn’t expect lineups a mere two days away. Anyways, at 133 pounds, I would expect Michigan to send #16 Dylan Ragusin, while Columbia boasts #31 Angelo Rini. Third-ranked Stevan Micic could face #15 Matt Kazimir at 141 pounds, and #11 Cameron Amine could see #29 Josh Ogunsanya, who has a very fun name, at 165 pounds.

Columbia has a surprisingly competitive team, but Michigan should be very good team this year, and I expect them to take 8 of 10 bouts for a final score around 33-6.

#1 Iowa hosts Princeton, Friday at 7PM on BTN+

Atinat: Man, I am so pumped to be back in Carver. To see a banner get raised. To see Spencer Lee wrestle again. Yeah, so Iowa did send probables, and Lee isn’t on them. Brands gave a statement something to the effect of he will be on the mat when he’s ready, so he must not be ready. There’s always the chance that Brands wants to ease him back into action, and #2 Patrick Glory isn’t the guy to that against.

Also absent are Max Murin, Michael Kemerer, and Nelson Brands. This would leave just one ranked matchup, #6 Kaleb Young vs #7 Quincy Monday. In Lee’s place will be Jesse Ybarra, while three different guys could wrestle at 149 pounds, Abe Assad is listed at 184 pounds, and 174 pounds has “TBD” listed. I don’t know if that means Kemerer/Kennedy, or Brands genuinely has no clue. I assume Ybarra won’t be able to handle Glory’s glory, but the Hawkeyes should be favored in 8 of the remaining 9 weights, with 149 being a total tossup.

#18 Wisconsin at Concordia Open, Saturday

Kind of...: This is not listed on UW’s schedule at their own page. I double they will be sending too many starters, if any, and I probably will not seek out coverage, unless I see some indication that there is more involved.

#16 Minnesota hosts #2 Oklahoma State, Saturday at 7PM on BTN

Atinat: Can Minnesota make magic happen at the Barn? No, because they don’t have wrestling at the Barn. But can Minnesota make magic happen at “Maturi Pavilion?” Probably not.

They’ll need a fast start, sending #5 Patrick McKee to face #19 Trevor Mastrogiovanni. #33 Jake Gliva will try to keep bonus points to a minimum against #2 Daton Fix. Minnesota could send Jake Bergeland or Marcos Polanco to face #14 Dusty Hone at 141 pounds, while #26 Michael Blockhus will look for a small upset against #22 Kaden Gfeller. Fifth-ranked Brayton Lee will look for bonus points against #14 Wyatt Sheets, but #21 Andrew Sparks will look to minimize bonus points against #6 Travis Wittlake. 174 pounds could be a tossup between #23 Jared Krattiger and the Cowboys’ #15 Dustin Plott. #27 Isaiah Salazar will face #7 Dakota Geer and the unranked Garrett Joles is opposite national champion AJ Ferrari in a pair of lopsided upper-weight bouts. The Gophers’ own national champion Gable Steveson will see #28 Luke Surber to close the night. For the Gophers to have a chance, they’ll have to get bonus points at 125, 157, and 285 pounds, and at least two other victories. They’ll also have to minimize bonus points allowed, obviously. I would say the Cowboys win, but only 22-15.

#20 Illinois at Lindenwood Open, Saturday

HWAHSQB: The internet failed me again as I couldn’t find a lineup for this open tournament, but historically, it has had 2-3 D1 teams and a bunch of smaller regional teams so let’s just say that will happen again.

Michigan State at Navy Classic, Saturday

Atinat: Michigan State will join plenty of EIWA, MAC, and SoCon schools at the Navy Classic in Annapolis on Saturday, where their boys should have an advantage over the field. They’ll send starters at approximately seven weights, including 133’s Rayvon Foley, 157’s Chase Saldate, and 197’s Cameron Caffey. Also in attendance will be 165-pound freshman Caleb Fish, who Wrestlestat ranks as 14th in the country but not the starter.

#21 Purdue hosts Brown, Duke, Northern Illinois, Sunday

HWAHSQB: A nice cupcake-y quad for Purdue to feast on. At least the HWTs can feast, the other guys can eat 12 a banana and then run on the treadmill for 60 minutes. Duke was 6th in the ACC last year. That sounds not too bad, but the ACC only has six wrestling teams. Northern Illinois lost to Rider, who Purdue already beat 33-3. Brown is a below average Ivy League team, so yeah, enjoy your 3-0 Sunday after smoking Northwestern in football Saturday.

#9 Nebraska, #16 Minnesota at Daktronics Open, Sunday

Atinat: Well... the Daktronics Open is in Brookings, South Dakota this Sunday... and at least though two schools will be there, plus probably host South Dakota State. But the tournament hasn’t posted who all is in attendance yet, so we don’t know who else. Minnesota just cleaned up at the Bison Open, and they can expect some familiar faces here, but the addition of Nebraska could make it difficult to repeat their earlier Dakota performance. And that’s if anyone sends their starters.

If you’re curious what the hell a “Daktronics” is, they produce light boards for scoreboards and LED signs. Their vision is “to be the world leader at informing and entertaining audiences through dynamic audio and visual communication systems,” which nearly entertained me to sleep. It was sounded by two SDSU engineering professors in Brookings.

The tournament has been going on for nearly 30 years and looks to have been sponsored by Daktronics the entire time. Officially, it is the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open, named after the organizer of the first ever high school state wrestling tournament in South Dakota, which he also refereed. Williamson is known as the Father of Wrestling in South Dakota. See what neat stuff I have to learn when tournaments can’t just list their participants?

#6 Michigan at Buffalo, Sunday at Noon on Youtube. Not sure where on Youtube, it just says Youtube.

Atinat: Buffalo only has one ranked wrestler, where at 133, #20 Derek Spann will face #16 Dylan Ragusin. I presume you could just search Michigan wrestling on Youtube and find this match, but I suspect you won’t. Wolves by a hundred.

Maryland at Pitt, Monday at 6PM

Atinat: why

#8 Ohio State hosts Notre Dame College, Tuesday at 7PM on... BTN? K.

Atinat: Ohio State figured out the secret to getting televised duals: Tuesdays! And if you’re thinking, huh, I didn’t know Notre Dame had a wrestling program, they don’t! This is like when Cornell pops up on Iowa’s schedule, but it’s the D3 program from Mount Vernon and not the Ivy League school from... Ithaca? Though, fun fact, Cornell College won a D1 National Title in 1947, and Cornell University never has. So now who’s the better school? Also, a fun fact, thanks to Cornell College, four schools from the state of Iowa own a national championship, more than any other state. Oklahoma and Michigan each have two (OSU/OU and MSU/UM).

Oh, right, Notre Dame College. It’s a private Catholic college in South Euclid, Ohio, which is a Cleveland burb, and it only started allowing men in 2001. They claimed D2 national titles in 2014 and 2017, and were runners up in 2016 and 2018. Their football team plays Slippery Rock, who Iowa scrimmaged against in basketball recently, this Saturday in the first round of the playoffs. The NDC Falcons are 9-1. Go Falcons.